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Armenian PM Should Apply Constitution to Himself Before Trying to Discredit Others: Statement

Article 88 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia prohibits members of the Government from engaging in entrepreneurial activities, representatives of "No to Robbery!" initiative against the hike in electricity prices reminded Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan in a statement, issued on Friday, June 26.

“Before trying to discredit someone else's actions and reduce the right of citizens to peaceful assembly only to blocking of streets, [the Prime Minister] should apply the Constitution to himself,” the authors said, commenting on Abrahamyan's recent statements.

Note, the Prime Minister stated during a Cabinet session on Thursday, June 25, that “the demonstrators' current approach will not lead to any success.”

“I suggest that they be more constructive, and the government will be willing to discuss any issue that they raise. Blocking one of the main central streets, hindering the free movement of our citizens, in my opinion, does not correspond to our Constitution and laws. I urge our citizens to respect our colleagues, to return to a constructive field and together discuss the issue,” Abrahamyan said.

The fact that Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan is a major entrepreneur has been the subject of numerous articles in the Armenian press; the issue has also been repeatedly raised in the Parliament by opposition lawmakers.

On June 19, thousands of demonstrators began round-the-clock protests in Yerevan against the plans by the national power utility to raise electricity tariffs in Armenia. 

On June 22, hundreds of the demonstrators marched toward the RA presidential residence on central Marshal Baghramyan Avenue. However, hundreds of armed police officers, forming a barricade, closed the road, not allowing demonstrators to get any closer to the presidential office. Protesters then sat in the middle of the road at the intersection of Baghramyan and Isahakyan streets, staging an impromptu sit-in outside the presidential palace.

Early on June 23, authorities warned the people that the protest was unsanctioned and warned that if the demonstrators did not clear the area, the police would use “special means” to disperse them. Shortly after, Armenian riot police violently dispersed the crowd.